Social and Emotional Learning is essential in our classrooms. The strategy of implementing SEL as part of the classroom norm, can seem like an overwhelming task, but when we pause, reflect, and assess, we can see SEL embedded into our daily practices. It’s about finding the entry point that works for you. Do you have new SEL curriculum? Are you working on a lesson that requires collaboration? Are you providing meaningful feedback? Are you designing safe spaces for students to reflect and decompress? If the answer is yes, then here lies several opportunities to build SEL into your classroom instruction.
But how do we ensure our learning environments, both physical and digital, are designed to be supportive, cultivate responsiveness, and focus on building up students? It starts with a common framework on language, used to promote a positive learning environment, while building the skills of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationships, and responsible decision making (What Is the CASEL Framework? – CASEL).
The goal is to create a classroom culture together with our students, giving them a voice and validating their sense of self. It allows students to be architects of their learning environments, building accountability and respect. SEL is a skill, just like learning to read, playing the piano, or building a house. We, as educators must provide consistent opportunities to practice, cultivate, and reflect not only for the students, but also for ourselves.
While there are many ways to get started; technology can be a valuable asset in providing meaningful SEL activities within the classroom. We can personalize, differentiate, and provide multiple pathways for learning. This is true for academics as well as for character education. The skills can be immersed through all areas of learning; creating classroom norms, the beginning moments of class, during transitions, within a lesson, as a close to the day, or even when students could benefit from a break. This is a learning strategy, and it is important to recognize the value of SEL, assess our strengths and weakness, and utilize the tools and resources available.
Through the technology lens we can provide students experiential learning opportunities to bring awareness and understanding of the classroom culture and gain valuable insights into student perspectives. With an authentic and honest approach, we can bring SEL into our digital platforms and build a kind a thoughtful community of learners.
Explore these five ideas to bring SEL into your digital community.
- Embed mindfulness into lesson delivery, using visual cues, transitions, and animations to help students focus.
- Add music to a lesson, linking to a slide or presentation and use in transitions to help students arrive for the next lesson or task.
- Use digital notebooks for gratitude or reflection journals. Provide students a safe space to share their own thoughts and ideas.
- Facilitate collaboration boards for daily affirmations or student check-ins. Practice listening to one another and build opportunities to share thoughtful feedback.
- Offer multiple means for expression. Employ artistic representation, using video, audio, or art applications to represent student voice and choice in how they demonstrate understanding.
Download this resource to help get you started.
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